I think Johnny Weir, the talented and eccentric figure skater, is fabulous for many reasons. In addition to his athletic talent and gender creativity, I adore him because he openly loves his vacuum. Apparently Johnny’s vacuum is so beloved that it has its own twitter identity. I’m not there just yet, but I, too, have a very profound relationship with my own vacuum. It’s a brilliant machine that literally sucks up the chaos and leaves behind the calm.
It’s not unusual for me to whip out the vacuum at the end of the day in a cathartic ritual. The noise drowns out the sounds of the world (including the voices and footsteps of small ones who have not yet fallen asleep), the suction removes the white sheen of dog fur, and the crinkling of crumbs or larger unidentified particles hitting the inner tubes as they journey toward the vacuum bag deep within gives me a unique sense of satisfaction. Not to mention I am pretty aggressive in my vacuum style so I also benefit from a decent energy release.
Now that our house has a large quantity of wall-to-wall carpet, I have a new challenge. This one raises the stakes in terms of achieving success: guiding the vacuum to produce rows of patterned lines. Johnny Weir himself is a master of such task, and one who relishes that joy. Hunt down the clip from his brief reality show and you’ll see what I mean!
Yesterday I couldn’t wait; I had to bust out the vacuum mid-day. We were only four hours into the first day of school when I received a call from the teacher to please come in for a conference. This has to be a new record– she even divulged that she’d never had to call a parent on day one (not to mention a parent who was entirely new to the school!). I won’t delve into the matter here and it’s not important which darling child this regards. Just know that within moments of processing the call, my vacuum was plugged in and zooming from one room to the next. I headed off to the meeting having dropped my blood pressure several notches and dealt with the situation with some clarity of mind. The straight lines remain there today as testament.
On Friday, the day before the kids’ arrival in California, I realized a certain productivity yielding tranquility. To document my efforts– and to have proof that peace once existed in this new house– I snapped some photos of scenes around the house. I had a feeling that within moments of the kids’ entrance all of my hard work would be undone. I know myself and I know my kids well. Utter destruction ensued. What I didn’t anticipate was the sheer disappointment I felt at knowing the outcome and yet still believing that somehow I could accept it lightheartedly.
I earnestly question at times such as these if I was meant to have children. And I seriously question if I was meant to have a dog. I am one who craves order, and somehow I was blessed with children whom I can describe only as chaos personified. Not to mention a dog who could reproduce an entire second pooch with the amount of fur he leaves behind with every shake and roll. I am constantly chasing elusive order.
This afternoon was a low point in my pursuit. We had a tough day, capped off with my little guy’s teacher home visit. The idea is that if the child bonds with his teachers prior to the start of school, the easier the transition will be in the classroom. I had prepared the kids for this visit for several days, laying out the expectations as well as the bribery. When the teachers arrived, I answered the door just as the giddiness, excitement and craziness was peaking in the kids’ response. Within moments, the wildness grew to the point that in the instant I turned to answer one of the teacher’s questions, my son had either tripped over his sister’s foot or was pushed by her, and here he was sliding head first down an entire landing of stairs to meet them nose first and full of tears. Oh, and that was the high point of the teacher visit, with the rest of the time actually going downhill from there.
My sanity is resilient by necessity. Each day I wake up thinking today is the day I conquer wildness and restore order. Now that I live in a land of palm trees, perhaps I can take a few minutes at the end of each day to escape fatigue and reality and somehow, just somehow use that exotic peacefulness which surrounds me to help recharge my batteries.
Well, I figured I’d spare you the image of the poop, and the bunnies kept running away from their photo opportunity. Hence the adage quick like a bunny. (Capturing a snap shot of the bunnies will have to make it onto the Bucket List). Anyhow, my point is this: I come across many new sites and have several new companions now on my morning runs. We are fortunate to live just a few minutes by foot to a spectacular canyon, where the trails merge and diverge so that multiple loops are possible. This morning I explored higher and farther than my previous ventures, and if the pesky marine layer had lifted just a few minutes earlier I’m pretty sure I would have been able to see the ocean.
My running shoes have carried me over countless trails and roads over the years. From Mexico to Morocco, Sicily to Sweden, and back to the States, I have taken in the grandeur of mountains, lakes, rivers, oceans, fields, parks, canyons and, yes, some traffic congestion. When I run I take it all in. It’s my time– no one tugs at me or argues with me. Sometimes I zone out, but mostly it’s time when my brain sorts itself out. I have mentally composed everything from my daily to-do lists to client nutrition recommendations to kids’ school applications to my father’s eulogy. I owe a lot to this precious time.
Each set of shoes has propelled me to new places and contemplations. When I am finished using each pair, I send them out into the world so that someone else can take another step on his/her journey. As I am nearly ready to part with my current set I’m looking for a running shoe store or a fitness center that accepts donations. Feel free to offer up suggestions!
After 35 years of being on the east coast, I have ventured thousands of miles away to set up home in sunny California. It is not without sadness that I leave behind friends, family, ventures and pursuits. But as challenging as it is to say farewell to my former existence, it’s equally exciting to embrace this current adventure.
I have spent the last week receiving and unpacking the 120+ boxes and finding a place for every single one of our possessions. When the kids arrive on Saturday, I will have to show everybody (including my dear husband) where everything is…and how it should all be put back relatively neatly.
Already I have enjoyed just one of many terrific swimming options (heated comfortably year round!) and beautiful running trails (see Coyote Poop and Bunny Rabbits). I’ve found myself admiring the hot air balloons that soar over our house each night. I am in awe of the seaside town where I can run errands, walk on the beach, catch the train up the coast or even visit the dentist (funny how the environment can make an unpleasant experience become enjoyable).
This afternoon after I tackle some organizational and cleaning tasks, I am off to a local farmer’s market via a reconnaissance of the UCSD pool.
I welcome advice or suggestions as I explore the area! I can add them to my bucket list.